December 16, 2005
Greene: The region must be able to sustain itself

Identifying farmers as the key to food security, Chairman and Chief co-ordinator of the Eastern Caribbean Trading Agriculture and Development Organisation, ECTAD, Jethro Greene stressed that the region must be able to sustain itself.

Speaking with the Searchlight Newspaper at a regional ECTAD workshop held at Sunset Shores on Monday, November 21, Greene stressed the need for farmers to be trained.{{more}}

He said through various techniques and better networking skills farmers could be some of the most powerful people in the region and could determine what happens in the economy. He said this power would help them influence policies because farmers were the ones who feed people.

Greene explained that smaller countries were under threat from richer nations through tariffs and other legislation and are being forced to go into tourism and other sectors to make money.

He said while this was happening, the agricultural sector of richer nations was increasing with larger farms and the use of technology, while developing countries still practised age-old techniques. He warned that the region must “not be stupid” and succumb to the pressures meted out by these larger nations and ignore agriculture since the region would then have to depend on other countries to feed it. He said Grenada after the devastation of Hurricane Ivan was the best example of a country being unable to feed itself and of the importance of food security.

Giving a background of ECTAD, Greene noted that the organisation has marketed over a million pounds in commodities in the Caribbean and Europe, from over 500 farmers in 18 villages. The local ECTAD Chairman noted that unlike other organisations that have a staff, ECTAD works directly with the farmers so that funds go directly to their pockets.

Members of ECTAD and Centre for Technical Agriculture, CTA, regional countries concluded a fiveday workshop today on the promotion of partnerships to develop the agricultural sector.